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Crews Battle at California Challenge Cup, Newport Beach

UCI bests rivals in first competition of the year

By: George Basile '83

On Saturday, March 5, UC Irvine Rowing hosted the California Challenge Cup at South Lido Chanel in the Marina Park, Newport Beach.

Universities from across the state competed, with over 250 athletes and spectators on a challenging windy morning, living up to the name of the event. For many of the rowers, it was their first opening season regatta since before the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago. For most novice rowers, it was their first sprint race ever.

“The wind was a challenge, but we’re an outdoor sport and all crews were able to race head-to-head in multiple races.” Said UCI head coach AJ Brooks.  In this duel-style sprint race, each school entered multiple boats which then went head-to-head in three different qualifying rounds.

“The Challenge Cup provides an early season test and tune-up for all the crews.  It’s a unique rowing event for Newport since spectators can see the whole event on simulcast and cheer their teams from shore.  Our teams, women and men, did very well, with our men’s varsity coming out ahead of their club rivals, including UCLA and UCSB,” Brooks continued.

In the finals, the fastest boats normally compete against each other for one of the seven final cups for men and women. This was the first year that both men and women competed at the regatta. "Another productive day of racing, the format allowed the crews to race multiple duel races," said Cal men’s coach Scott Frandsen. "It was really good for our guys to get out and get three races in pretty tough conditions and gain some experience.”

This year, high winds picked up throughout the morning led to the final cups being canceled for safety. “Even through these rough waves and crazy winds, the rowers still ended the day with big smiles on their faces,” said junior coxswain Grace Sanders.

According to Coach Brooks, “UC Irvine Rowing came out of this regatta as a better, more experienced team, and the athletes are extremely excited to continue making this season the best in UCI history.” 

Said men’s team captain Connor Basile, “It is just incredible to be out there racing again!”

UCI is back racing in Newport Beach Saturday, March 19th for the women’s Berg Cup and Sunday, March 20th for the men’s Newport Regatta, with the crew aiming at the Western Intercollegiate Championships and the American Collegiate Championships in late spring.
Race Results
Berg Cup 2022
The women will kick off racing tomorrow morning at 8:00AM in the annual Berg Cup Regatta hosted by Orange Coast College.

UCI will be competing against UCSB, ASU, OCC, CSULB over 2000 Meters.

Please be aware there is no spectator parking available at the Orange Coast College Boathouse. These stall are reserved for officials and event support. 
57th Annual Newport Regatta
Due to the forecast Orange Coast College has opted to reverse the race course starting at the North Lido channel and finishing at South Lido.

Be sure to tune in to the live stream linked below to cheer on your Anteater crews!

Please be aware there is no spectator parking available at the Orange Coast College Boathouse. These stall are reserved for officials and event support. 
Link to LiveStream of the 57th Annual Newport Regatta
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